Call & Response: Cuff The Duke

Call & Response: Cuff The Duke

Oshawa's crown princes of alt-country Cuff The Duke have been living the high life lately. After releasing Sidelines of the City - their third full-length on Hayden's Hardwood Records last October - they toured venues big and small across North America, as themselves and as Hayden's backing band.

Perhaps their greatest accomplishment was opening for Blue Rodeo at Massey Hall? I was curious about that and about what secret "guests" might be joining them on stage for their two shows at the Horseshoe this weekend.

My very first Call & Response was with lead singer Wayne Petti last June about his debut solo record. So I guess he's the C&R MVP. Congrats Wayne!

Keep reading for the complete interview.

blogTO: Why are you called Cuff The Duke?

Wayne Petti: I bought an old t-shirt at a Goodwill in Oshawa, where I grew up. It said "Cuff the Duke" on it. So when we started the band we all thought it would make a good name.

How would you describe your sound using only a noun?

El Chupacabra - Google it.

How have your summers been? Any down time?

We spent the month of June on tour with Hayden in the U.S. as his backing band. We've been playing festivals through July and have been in the studio with Hayden as well as being in the studio recording Cuff the Duke material. So...not a lot of down time.

What was it like opening for Blue Rodeo at Massey Hall? Have you played any other big shows? Which shows do you prefer - big or small?

Playing Massey Hall was definitely a highlight for the band. We've played other big shows in arenas and festivals etc. I think we prefer smaller shows. Although, there is something pretty exciting about playing in front of 5 to 10 000 people.

How many of you live in downtown Toronto? What do you like best about Toronto? What do you like least?

3 out of the 4 of us live downtown. Dale, our guitar player, lives in Dartmouth, NS. Streetcars are my favourite thing about the city. Streetcar tracks, when you're riding your bike, is my least favourite thing.

I've been asking bands how they've been dealing with the rainy summer. How do you feel about all the rain we've been getting? Where do you most like to be when it's raining?

The rain has been a bit of a bummer. Every festival we've played this summer, except one, has been rainy. I like sitting on a covered deck when it rains, relaxing with a beverage perhaps.

What can people expect to see/hear/feel at your show this Saturday night?

People should expect to see us sweating on stage hear us playing our songs and hopefully feel really glad that they came to the Horseshoe instead of renting a movie.

What "guests" will be joining you on stage?

We have a guest joining us each night at the Horseshoe. You'll have to come out to see who!

What's next for the band? Have you started writing a new record? Any side project updates?

The week after the Horseshoe shows we'll be going to Greg Keelor's place to do some recording. In September we'll be back on the road with Hayden until mid-December. We'll finish our record in the early new year. There are no side project updates at the moment.

w/ Bruce Peninsula, Fembots, Steamboat, The Stables
Friday, August 22 and Saturday, August 23
The Horseshoe Tavern
368 Queen Street West
Advanced tickets $12 at Rotate This, Soundscapes, The Horseshoe, Ticketmaster

Call & Response is a series of weekly Q&A's with bands from or playing in Toronto. Photo: Universal.

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